Pediatricians in U.S. advising parents to donate the umbilical cord to the cord blood banks just after the birth of their child.
According to an analysis of the American Academy of Pediatrics in the past ten years, there is a significant increase in the donation of umbilical cord blood for the development of stem cells. These stem cells would help save children suffering from fatal diseases.
Dr. William Shearer, Prof. of Pediatrics and Immunology at Baylor College of Medicine, Huston said, “Most parents will never need cord blood for their own family’s use, but they can donate this precious lifesaving gift to benefit others.” He further added, “We expect the need for these therapies that rely on stem cell transplantation to grow, and would like families to understand the choices they have”.
Based on the discussion, it can be concluded that the cord blood is an ultimate source of stem cells. Placenta of the newborns is used for its collection. The benefit of collecting cord blood is that it will help in developing stem cells that then can be used for treating several deadly diseases like cancers, blood diseases, and immune deficiencies.
There are no side effects of cord blood donation on a baby and it does not interfere with the labor and delivery process. Thus, it is recommended that parents must register themselves to the donation program as this will facilitate the collection process. The collection kit is further sent to the couple in advance, so that the blood can be collected just after the delivery. It is suggested by American Academy of Pediatrics that the doctors must consult with the expectant parents in advance about the donation process.
A data suggests that over 30,000 stem cell transplants had been globally conducted with the help of cord blood by the end of 2013. The cord blood can also be donated for the general public.
Shearer in her interview said, “The research is evolving in this area, which is exciting news for patients whose lives may someday depend on a donation of cord blood”. He also commented, “The hope is that more doctors will discuss the options with expectant parents well in advance of their baby’s birth, so they understand the tremendous potential to help others in medical need.”
All over the world, private as well as public cord banks, are available, but the most preferred ones are private cord banks. As they store the cord blood for a specific family only, who have prior knowledge about their family genetic defects. The only demerit of these private cord blood banks is that they charge a very high amount of initial donation for long-term preservation. The range of annual preservation fees varies from 100 to 175 USD.